What Are Your Beekeeping Calendar Dates? Please Respond

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by Adam Foster Collins, Oct 22, 2012.

  1. Adam Foster Collins

    Adam Foster Collins New Member

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    One thing that has really struck me this year - especially now that I'm up over 10 colonies - is the need to know your regional 'dates'.

    For the last couple of seasons, I only ran a couple of hives in my yard. So it was easy to react moment-to-moment. But this year, with 13 hives in three yards, I have found that I'm often playing catch up - a little behind on what I should be doing. I was also "jumping the gun" and was stressing out too early this spring on things like swarm prep and swarm traps. Being out of sync with your regional beekeeping calendar creates stress for me and the bees.

    So it really helps to know key dates and blooms in your region, so that you are better able to stay on top of things, and you're not wasting energy worrying about things when it's too early or too late to be worrying about them.

    But new beekeepers often have trouble connecting with other, more experienced beekeepers who can help them know those dates - and too often new beekeepers don't know to ask.

    So I thought I would put in what I see as some key dates and corresponding blooms. If you enter your date and/or bloom it might help newer beekeepers in your region get a better handle on the season's schedule.

    Questions:

    In your region...

    1) When does early pollen start and with what flowers blooming?

    2) When does swarm season starts and what's blooming?

    3) When does the main flow start and what's blooming?

    4) When are you most likely to get a dearth in your area?

    5) When does fall flow start and what's blooming?

    6) When do you need to have completed assessments of colony stores and begin feeding if necessary?

    7) When you should be finished with liquid feed in your area?

    8) When should you treat (if you do that) in your area and with what on that date?

    9) When should you have your bees completely ready for winter in your area?

    10) What date do you try to do a late winter/ early spring evaluation of overwintering colonies?




    Being aware of blooming flowers, and knowing what to associate that bloom with in terms of hive management is imperative to the success of every beekeeper. So I thought this might help. If you could take the time to add what's right for you, that could be helpful to others in your area. If you have other key dates and blooms, feel free to add them.


    Thanks for contributing,

    Adam
     
  2. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    For years I had two very stable dates:
    1. March 20, the start of the citrus honey flow.
    2. April 1st, the start of the swarming season.
    Today, both of these dates have shifted:
    1. Because of financial considerations most of the citrus groves in my region have been replaced with other crops, so I don't have a citrus honey flow at all. :cry:
    2. Swarming has been moving to earlier in the spring, with the first swarms appearing as much as two weeks earlier.

    I blame that on global warming. :mad:
     

  3. Adam Foster Collins

    Adam Foster Collins New Member

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    Thanks efmesch,

    I'll do my best with what I know of my region. Perhaps Perry can chime in on some of these too. He has more experience here than I do.


    1) When does early pollen start and with what flowers blooming?


    Pollen begins here in Halifax with Crocus in Late March or early April, followed by pussywillows

    2) When does swarm season starts and what's blooming?

    Swarm season really starts here in June 1st. By then, we have tons of Dandelions, as well as white clover

    3) When does the main flow start and what's blooming?


    That is more difficult for me to pinpoint. I have been told it begins with Blackberry, but that is in July, and I feel like it begins before that. At least here in the city.

    4) When are you most likely to get a dearth in your area?

    Late July - mid August. We can get dry for a few weeks in there. We had a bad one this year and a lot of people were taken by surprise. It was so nice - not too hot. But just not enough rain to keep nectar flowing in the country. However, things weren't so bad in the irrigated urban environment.

    5) When does fall flow start and what's blooming?

    September 1. Goldenrod, Knotweed/bamboo and then Aster.

    6) When do you need to have completed assessments of colony stores and begin feeding if necessary?

    I would say this should be done third week of September,

    7) When you should be finished with liquid feed in your area?

    You really should have what they need in by October 15. The season sometime lingers until into November, but if you aim for October 15, then you won't get hammered by those occasional early freeze-and-snows.

    8) When should you treat (if you do that) in your area and with what on that date?

    If you're going to do formic, then it should be done late September/early October. I have used oxalic in October and November. I have also used it early spring, when I saw new bees emerging with Deformed Wing Virus (DWV). However, ideally oxalic should be done October - November here.

    9) When should you have your bees completely ready for winter in your area?

    Halloween.

    10) What date do you try to do a late winter/ early spring evaluation of overwintering colonies?

    March. The earlier you get a temp that allows you a peak in March, the better. But I think March sometime. That's the death month here. If they're going to run out of food, it'll be March.
     
  4. pistolpete

    pistolpete New Member

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    Around here we have a bit of a shorter season than Halifax. Here are some of the dates that have been passed on to me by local beeks. 1st hive inspection: 1st warm day after you see the first dandelion. main flow: sarts when dandelions finish: june july, Dearth possible in August. 1st week in september: take off honey, equalize hive stores if needed, start feeding if needed. Treat with feeding if necessary.

    Around here there is no fall flow. After the end of august the bees expend a lot more effort to collect nectar and pollen, so while foraging continues, little or no surplus is produced. Feeding should be done by the end of september, right around first frost. We have already had snow on the ground for a few days now.
     
  5. ApisBees

    ApisBees Active Member

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    For myself being in an orchard region and taking hives to do pollination my year and hive build up is different than my neighbor that leaves his hive in one location. Placing your hive in an orchard with so much bloom and forage causes the bees to expand and explode in size. As beekeepers doing pollination we want to provide a colony strong enough to pollinate the crop but not to big that the hive will swarm before we retrieve the hive. The Industry standard for a pollination unit is 8 frames of bees and 5 frames of brood. The equalization of the hives at the start of the cherry bloom allows you to assume all the hives are the same strength and one that appear to lag behind or prove exceptional can be identified easily. When the hives are returned 2 week later the hive will have 2 full boxes of bees and 15 frames of brood and if bees and brood are not removed the hive will swarm, so nucs are pulled leaving 8 frames of brood and 10+ frames of bees, by the time the hive fills the empty top brood box the main honey flow will be starting and the bees will take to storing the nectar in the honey supers above the brood. the total timing depends on the weather that year and when the trees bloom.
    The hive is managed for supers to store the crop until the middle of August when mite treatments must begin. The length of time the winter bees have to survive till brood rearing commences the following spring, it is important that the bees are as mite free as possible. Winter bees that have been host to the mites while capped and as mite carrier are more acceptable to disease and viruses, causing bees to die sooner and at a faster rate than bees not infected. At the last bee meeting a new Beekeeper asked what was the most important thing I learned about keeping bees and I had to answer treating mites when they needed to be treated for the sake of the bees not when it was convenient for me the beekeeper.

    A little advise for all beekeepers when you are going through you hives Anticipate Were Your Hive Be by the next inspection! every frame of brood when the bees emerge the bees will cover 2 frames all the brood that is capped will emerge within the next 9 days all the brood in 21, Have the bees enough room to accommodate this expansion? How soon will more space be needed? when you figure out the answer to the last question make sure you are back attending to the needs of the bees in time. remember good prolific queen will lay 14 to 18 frames so if the brood chamber becomes congested remove frames of pollen and honey and give empty frames to expand brood rearing. In my area until the middle of July, them if the bees start to plug the brood chamber it's fine.

    1) When does early pollen start and with what flowers blooming?
    willow followed by fruit trees and dandelion
    2) When does swarm season starts and what's blooming?
    any time the hive becomes to strong and the bees have nothing better to do than make swarm cells
    3) When does the main flow start and what's blooming?
    end of June beginning of July
    4) When are you most likely to get a dearth in your area?
    Dearths can appear any time irrigated crops are cut 3 to 4 times a year and being in a semi dessert area it depends on the weather.
    5) When does fall flow start and what's blooming?
    not much of a fall flow every thing has dried out
    6) When do you need to have completed assessments of colony stores and begin feeding if necessary?
    mid September
    7) When you should be finished with liquid feed in your area?
    end of October
    8) When should you treat (if you do that) in your area and with what on that date?
    start 15th of August. spring if needed
    9) When should you have your bees completely ready for winter in your area?
    mid November
    10) What date do you try to do a late winter/ early spring evaluation of overwintering colonies?
    Mid September feed colony wintering ability: last week December first week January Check for dead out & feed by where cluster is thru inner cover hole. stimulate feed when temp allows.

    I beekeep by the weather that influences the blossoms, my only fixed date is the 15th of August for the treatment of mites.
     
  6. indypartridge

    indypartridge New Member

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    Although noting dates is important, the "what's blooming" is far more important. This year, most blooms were 4-to-6 weeks earlier than "normal". I try to arrange my beekeeping activities based on bloom, not the calendar.
     
  7. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    I myself think you have come to some realization that numbers of hives and getting the timing right does require some forethought and planning. I would suggest that for a lot of new beekeeper they need to first recognize what is going on outside the hive to have any meaningful idea of how to access what is going on inside the hive. Hopefully my answer will not confuse anyone too much (the world of the bees is just much much different than it is on your end of the line).


    Questions:

    In your region...

    1) When does early pollen start and with what flowers blooming? >there is no start or end date which is to say it comes in all year long.... I kind of mark my internal calendar that spring has arrived when I see spring beauties blooming in mass.

    2) When does swarm season starts and what's blooming? again no specific month comes to mind... again a hive here may swarm at almost any time of the year. primary swarm season is in late March

    3) When does the main flow start and what's blooming? we have so many spring flowers that the start is hard to pinpoint... the dew berries and black berries are back to back bloomers that likely represent out first major spring flows.

    4) When are you most likely to get a dearth in your area? July and August.

    5) When does fall flow start and what's blooming? if we get one after any fall rains which generally arrive in late September or October. sources may be broom weed, wild onions and asters.

    6) When do you need to have completed assessments of colony stores and begin feeding if necessary? highly variable depending on the prior season... for example last year during a severe drought this began in May and continued until the following spring and this year this assessment portion of the process will begin in November with any feeding beginning January 1. the latter part of this sentence is the 'more typical' time line.

    7) When you should be finished with liquid feed in your area? I generally pull feeder when the spring beauties bloom in March unless I have specific things I am trying to encourage a hive to do... like producing lots of brood for nuc production or trying to get some new wax drawn.

    8) When should you treat (if you do that) in your area and with what on that date? I do not.

    9) When should you have your bees completely ready for winter in your area? WINTER! what is that>

    10) What date do you try to do a late winter/ early spring evaluation of overwintering colonies? this starts on or about January 1.
     
  8. Zookeep

    Zookeep Active Member

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    my dates are never fixed it seems, swarms happen when ever they are in the mood and as far as flows go its up 1 week down the next all year long, dearths happen at any time when we have a period with little or no rain fall, again any time of the year it seems, as for a winter we get at the worst maybe 2 weeks of it, last year we didnt have a winter at all.
     
  9. Daniel Y

    Daniel Y New Member

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    1) When does early pollen start and with what flowers blooming?
    Mid May with Willow, Dandelion and Some fruit trees. Fruit rarely survives a late frost here.

    2) When does swarm season starts and what's blooming?

    3) When does the main flow start and what's blooming?
    I caught my first swarm here the first week of June this past year.

    4) When are you most likely to get a dearth in your area?
    Always and never. I live in a city in the dessert. My bees live on landscaping.

    5) When does fall flow start and what's blooming?
    Late September early october with sagebrush

    6) When do you need to have completed assessments of colony stores and begin feeding if necessary?
    Last half of September.

    7) When you should be finished with liquid feed in your area?
    By Mid October

    8) When should you treat (if you do that) in your area and with what on that date?
    I treated this year in the first half of October, not certain that was the best timing.

    9) When should you have your bees completely ready for winter in your area?
    By the end of October but winter may not set in here all the way to January. Very erratic.

    10) What date do you try to do a late winter/ early spring evaluation of overwintering colonies?

    I don't have one

    I tend to look for natural indications that it is time to do certain things. For example. If you ask the native Americans here when to gather pine nuts. they will tell you when the sagebrush blooms. The date that the sagebrush blooms each year can vary widely. Sagebrush blooms also my sign to start prepping the bees for winter.

    Seeing the tulips poking through the snow is my sign to prepare for spring. That will also be the sign for me to be watching my bees. That may mean two weeks after I see the first growth in the spring or something like that.

    We almost always get a warm period in the spring that the fruit trees blossom. then a late freeze hits and kills all of them. This has been one of those rare years that did not happen.

    I can always count in it being cold near freezing the first week of November. but then it may warm up again by mid November and stay fairly mild all the way into the next year.

    Last year (2011) we had freezing temps all the way up to the first week of July. this past spring it didn't freeze again after May 15th.
     
  10. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    I would say Adam is pretty much bang on with his assessment for our area (although it is quite apparent that there can still be huge differences by local standards, he still has drones, I don't). Given that any one year can be an anomaly (this year) and the fact that we have moved a little over a year ago, I am still trying to re-adjust my "calender" somewhat. I will do my Oxalic in November rather than October, just because it works better with less capped brood.